Senator David Sater’s Capitol Report for the Week of Jan 4: Second Amendment Rights Attacked…Again

Sater - Capitol Report Banner - 010913 copy

JEFFERSON CITY — The president is at it again. After his unconstitutional gun control bill was soundly defeated in Congress two years ago by the country’s elected representatives, he again did what he has done over and over. Instead of working with Congress, where the Constitution says our laws are made, he overstepped and exceeded the authority of his office, signing an unconstitutional executive order giving the federal government new powers limiting our Second Amendment rights.

Besides the fact that the president doesn’t have the authority to unilaterally change the Constitution, nothing the president has proposed would make us safer or have prevented the mass shootings he constantly invokes in speeches and TV appearances. Even an Associated Press story published on Jan. 5 backs this up. The story stated that the president’s executive order “would have had no impact in keeping weapons from the hands of suspects in several of the deadliest recent mass shootings that have spurred calls for tighter gun control.”

Then, if the president’s overreaching and extreme gun control efforts aren’t about protecting Americans, what is it really about? Unfortunately, it seems this is another cynical attempt to use tragedy and emotion to lecture the American people on the need for more gun control and to fulfill campaign promises he knows Congress will never go for. This new executive order effectively gives the federal government, and particularly the executive branch, unprecedented power over the Second Amendment without a law passed and in spite of strong Constitutional arguments against it. Back in 2008, when the current president was running for president, he attacked then-Pres. Bush saying, “I take the Constitution very seriously. The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all, and that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m President of the United States of America.”

It’s eight years later, and in that time, the president has issued almost 230 executive orders. From bypassing Congress on the Iran deal, to trying to close Gitmo, to backing sanctuary cities, the president has consistently proven that he will ignore the Constitution to push his agenda. If you review the Constitution, you will see that there is no specific enumeration anywhere allowing executive orders.

We must guard against making emotional and knee-jerk reactions to events that are more complex than the talking heads care to admit. I don’t believe disarming law-abiding citizens will make us safer. In fact, it will make us less safe and more difficult to protect ourselves and our families. So many crimes are committed with guns attained illegally and law enforcement cannot be everywhere. Our citizens must have the ability to defend themselves. That is why the right to keep and bear arms is one of the most important fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

The Founders understood that a vigorous Second Amendment was necessary to not only protect our own lives, families and property, but it was sometimes necessary to protect ourselves from our own government. Thomas Jefferson said, “No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms,” and George Mason, considered co-author of the Second Amendment said, “I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”

Our constitutional rights were secured and maintained with great sacrifice and we should be careful to not undo the work of our Founding Fathers with an emotional reaction that does not fix the problem. There are millions of law-abiding, honest firearm owners in this country and thousands here in Missouri. The president’s actions would seriously undermine these citizens’ Second Amendment rights and replace them with vague and overstated promises.

As always, I welcome your ideas, questions and concerns about Missouri government. You may contact me at the State Capitol as follows: (573) 751-1480, or by writing to Sen. David Sater, Missouri State Capitol, Room 419, Jefferson City, MO 65101.